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Singapore research organisations team up to advance drug discovery using brain tumor stem cells
Date:2/17/2009

Lilly Singapore Centre for Drug Discovery (LSCDD), Singapore's National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), and the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), have teamed up to advance drug discovery using adult brain tumour stem cells.

NNI is one of the institutions of SingHealth, the largest public healthcare group in Singapore. LSCDD, a wholly owned subsidiary of the US-based biopharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly and Company has recently expanded its facility at the Biopolis, and has cancer as one of its disease areas of focus. SICS is one of the research institutes of Singapore's A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research).

The research collaboration will leverage earlier findings by NNI research scientist Dr. Carol Tang, and Dr. Christopher Ang Beng Ti, a NNI neurosurgeon and SICS clinical investigator. The duo have shown that primary brain tumours are caused by a minority group of cells that display a genetic profile distinct from that of the tumour bulk.

They have reliably established a method of cryopreservation for these tumour-initiating cells (frequently termed "cancer stem cells"), thus facilitating the development of a brain tumour stem cell repository for future research and drug screening efforts. These important discoveries were published late last year in the journal Stem Cells. (http://www.a-star.edu.sg/biopolis/288-Press-Release?iid=576)

"Our scientific goals are to understand if and how we can target adult brain tumour stem cells selectively, and to use bioinformatics to identify novel biomarkers and new drug target," said Drs. Tang and Ang. "Ultimately, this could lead to new approaches to treat brain tumours."

The researchers have reason to be optimistic. This collaboration is the first amongst staff from Eli Lilly and Company and lead Singapore research agencies, NNI and A*STAR. With increased opportuni
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Contact: Cathy Yarbrough
sciencematter@yahoo.com
858-243-1814
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

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